West Mag Open House
On April 5, 2012, the USFS hosted an Open House in Nederland to discuss the recreation plan for the West Magnolia area following the fuels reduction. The turnout was high and the folks that came had some very thoughtful questions and expressed their concerns about the cut and the follow-up very succinctly. Though a number of folks had questions about the why and how much of the tree cutting, the USFS representative, Ed Perault, did not make too many comments on that as the point of the meeting was "what happens next".
Given the tragic fires we have had in recent years in Boulder County and the Front Range, the question of why seems to have answered itself, but the what happens next was the focus of the meeting. The USFS is very willing to entertain all notions and ideas. This is a unique opportunity to develop a trail system from the ground up based on the wants and needs of the different user groups.
The meeting starting out with a general informational slide show, going over maps and looking at possibilities. The attendees were then broken into smaller groups and asked a series of questions intending to gather input from local stakeholders as to what outcomes they would like to see. Though the group had a large number of mountain bikers in attendance, there were also hikers, equestrians, winter uses (skiing, snowshoeing) and runners. A number of possible uses was discussed and considered. One positive note is the relatively low incidence of user conflict between the user groups.
The nearly unanimous theme to the feedback given by local users was the desire to not lose the rustic feeling of the trail system and to maintain the feel of being lost in the woods. There was concern about the trails getting too sanitized like the trails at lower elevations and about not having enough input as West Mag neighbors.
All in all, I think that the meeting was informative and answered a lot of questions for stakeholders. Ed Perault is very open to creating a rec plan that takes into account the input from that meeting and is amenable to having meetings as needed when the stakeholders have more questions or input. The West Mag fuels reduction will change the look and landscape of that area but the USFS is committed to bringing it back to life in partnership with all the user groups that step up.
- from Jenn the BMA Trailwork Director
contact her at email@example.com